Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa ahead of their showdown clash on Sunday.
The Whites travel to the King Power Stadium hoping to build on their midweek victory over Newcastle United but will face a tough test against the Foxes who are on a nine-game unbeaten run and have not tasted defeat since December 16.
Despite Bielsa’s side turning in a below-par display in the second half on Tuesday on the back of three successive defeats Rodgers has praised his managerial methods and professed his admiration for the club, words that have prompted some Leeds fans to call for his appointment when Bielsa finally calls it a day at Elland Road.
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers on #lufc : “They’ve been outstanding. I’m a huge admirer of the coach. The team have played very clearly in their way in every game. They want to attack, they play without any fear.”
— Adam Pope (@apopey) January 29, 2021
As reported by the BBC’s Adam Pope Rodgers waxed lyrical about the Whites, saying: “They’ve been outstanding. I’m a huge admirer of the coach.”
Rodgers and Bielsa certainly share some similarities in that they are front-foot managers who favour an attacking approach to the game and detest one-dimensional, attritional football.
Only two sides (Liverpool and Manchester United) have scored more Premier League goals than Leicester this season (36) while Leeds also rank in the top ten (32).
While Bielsa adopts a more aggressive approach to defending with incessant pressure there are some statistics that outline similar key characteristics between the two sides this season.
Per Wyscout, they both rank in the top three for smart passes per 90 (Leeds – 8.22, Leicester – 7.95) showing their ability to look for the ideal opportunity in possession.
They also have similar figures for dribbles attempted per 90 (25.11 compared to 25.62).
Leeds fans will be hoping Bielsa stays for many more years but he will leave at some point, so there must be a plan in place for his eventual successor.
Rodgers has experience of managing a big club before with Liverpool so he will be able to withstand the pressure that comes with expectation, while he has done a superb job at Leicester since his arrival in 2019.
Here are some of the reactions from Leeds fans calling for his future appointment after Rodgers revealed his admiration for the Whites…
He’d be one of my choices to replace Bielsa when he decides to call it a day
— prem kenny brown💛🤍💙🏆 (@kennybrown1964) January 29, 2021
Absolutely mate, said the same a couple of weeks back. I think we'd need to be nearer top 6 for him to consider it. Really like they guy, his calm, level manner very important in the modern game. The Clough days are sadly over 😃
— MikeW (@mikewhorley) January 29, 2021
Really seems a genuine guy As has been said there, definitely one I'd be happy with after bielsa 👍
— Farney Whites® (@FarneyWhites) January 29, 2021
Always liked Rodgers and he has just gone up even further in my estimation – will be a very sad day when Bielsa leaves but Rodgers would be very near the top of my wish list of replacements! Goes about things with dignity and respect and plays in the game in the right way!
— JonR1973 (@jonnyroberts73) January 29, 2021
Agree. Top manager. Well run club that Leeds are trying to emulate over the next few years. Well organised team who all know what they are doing. Tough game sunday will be happy with a point
— Lee Grimes (@leegrecruiter) January 29, 2021
Brendan Rodgers is a class act. Quality manager and top bloke in the game.
— Sam Rose-Brown (@sam_brown7) January 29, 2021
always liked Rodgers
— * (@samlufcc) January 29, 2021
He’s a classy operator is Rodgers.
— Wayne O'Sullivan💙🏆💛 (@OSullivanWayne) January 30, 2021
In other Leeds United news, see our exclusive interview with Paul Robinson on why a quiet January window could lead to an exciting summer.